|RS Soph.||6’7″ 225||Small Forward||UNC||DOB: 12/2/97|
|15.2 ppg||5.1 rpg||2 apg||FG: 52%||3 PT: 43.8%|
NBA Comparison: Kawhi Leonard
Strengths: Efficiency, Outside Shooting, Shot Creation, Defense
Weaknesses: Speed, Limited Usage, Quickness
Hunter went down to an injury last season that was a big part of the reason Virginia lost to UMBC in the historic game. Virginia was obviously a much different team with Hunter on the floor winning the schools first national championship. He is a highly efficient player, which was a perfect fit for Tony Bennett’s system, and his numbers across the board suggest there will be a jump in production at the next level. He attempted 2.8 three pointers per game as a sophomore which is not a large sample size, however the 43.8% percentage on those shots was impressive. In the same way his 52% from the field was due to his versatility of being able to score both inside and outside of the paint. Hunter can come off of a screen, spot up, or create his own jump shot using multiple moves on the perimeter and he should be able to do those things well as a pro. One of the more intriguing parts of his game is defensive potential, with Hunter already coming in as a polished defender at the college level. The ability to guard multiple positions is essential as an NBA wing, and he has shown he is capable of doing that. His vertical is solid, and he has been able to drive past defenders getting to the basket, but there are some questions of how well he can do that at an NBA level.
He will have average speed for a wing, but he should be able to keep up with the pace of the professional game. The system that Hunter played in was a much slower and patient offense than most teams employ in the league, and with more shot opportunities he should be able to score the ball at a high level. There is a concern that his efficiency will go down with more usage, but with his shot mechanics being as strong as they are he projects as an efficient shooter in the league. He could struggle to defend quicker players on the wing with the increased athleticism in the NBA, but the defensive film on Hunter is very solid, so it should not deter a team from liking his defensive future. If he can continue to be a lock down defender and score the ball efficiently, as he steps into a bigger role he could end up as one of the top players from the draft class. His length will be better than many of his peers with a 7’2″ wingspan and he can use this on the defensive end but also to play bigger than his listed height when put with his athleticism.
Here is the big shot he hit to send the national championship game to overtime:
This play shows his ability to finish at the rim:
Hunter is projected to be a lottery pick, with some projections having him going as high as the top five. His ceiling as a professional is a starter level wing, possibly reaching an all star level, providing elite perimeter defense and high level scoring. The worst case scenario for Hunter is that he is unable to become a go to scorer in the league, leading him to be in more of a “3 and D” type of role but still receiving significant minutes on a roster.